Sunday, June 21, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go: The Pros and Cons Edition

The kids and I are leaving tomorrow to visit my grandmother for a few days. There are Pros and Cons that accompany this visit (as with just about any situation that we experience). here are a few of them listed here for your viewing pleasure:

Pro- Plenty of good homestyle cooking, including a full 3-4 course breakfast.

Con- A meal is barely complete before we have to have the next meal fully planned and prepped. We may, literally, spend ALL DAY in the kitchen. Breakfast is served as soon as my grandmother is awake. And if you aren't awake yet, you will be, as her kitchen turns into the set of "Bring in the noise, Bring in the Funk." (For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a Broadway musical in which they use found objects(i.e.-pots and pans and spoons and trash cans, etc.) to create intricate and LOUD rythms.) I have already endured two phone calls spanning 2.5 hours discussing what we do and do not like to eat. I have assured her that she does NOT need to go to any trouble, as we are not picky, and will eat whatever is served. But, that is not her nature. Instead, she is obsessed with menu preparations, and has already been to the grocery store(after she called my mother and questioned her about our dietary preferences). I can guarantee that in our 3 day visit, we will need to go back to the grocery store (my favorite place!!!)at least once.

Pro- My grandmother's house is immaculately clean at all times.

Con- Any time that is not spent in meal discussions, planning, preparations, or eating is spent cleaning the house. Take caution while you are eating, because if you remove your eyes from your plate, it may disappear. Forget about your drink. If you don't have your hand on it, it will never be seen again. Don't get too engrossed in any sporting event or television show of any kind, because there is no DVR, and during the climax of the show is always, always, the perfect time to vaccuum. We won't be there on Saturday this time, but, if we were, we would need to be up at 6:00 A.M. in order for the sheets to go into the washing machine. (Apparently, she doesn't put sheets in the dryer. They have to go on the clothesline.) When you finish showering, first, dry off with your towel. Then, you must dry off the walls and doors of the shower, the shampoo and conditioner bottles, and the soap. (Don't you do this at home?....NO. I didn't think so.)

Pro-My grandmother is very wise and knowledgeable about the Bible.

Con- My grandmother will take any and every opportunity to preach a sermon to you. Only usually it does not pertain to you. Be very cautious about asking about how "so and so" is doing. Because you will not only hear how "so and so" is doing, but, you will hear about what they are doing wrong, what they should be doing, why they shouldn't be doing whatever it is that they may or may not be doing, why their lives would be SO much better if_____ and so the story goes. Also, be very cautious about responding to her questions about "so and so", because, well, the same rules apply. (This often makes me wonder what she says about me to others....)

Pro- The overnight stay in my grandmother's guest bed will make me miss my own mattress and I will be sooooooooooo thankful to be back in it. My husband and I hav been discussing a new mattress. Sometimes a view of the "horrible" makes you appreciate the "so-so" just a little bit more.

Con- I seriously, seriously think that my grandmother's mattresses are stuffed with hardened lava. I have never felt a substance harder. She likes a firm mattress. And my back will be screaming!

Pro- My grandmother is very attentive to details. She wants to make sure that you have everything you need, and that everything in her home is in order.

Con- "Attention to detail" is another way of saying "anxiety ridden". She is pretty tense. Which, in turn makes me tense. Things that would be "no big deal" at home are MAJOR at her house. (i.e.- There is no orange juice, and, someone asks for orange juice. She panics over having no orange juice. The person who requested it is perfectly fine with drinking milk or water. But, I can promise you that she is NOT fine with that, and someone will be going to buy some orange juice. After a prolonged and painful discussion. Upon returning with the juice, it is discovered that the person who originally requested the o.j. has long since finished their glass of milk and moved on with their life. At my house, I would say, "Nope. No juice. How about milk?" And life would go on. But the clock will stop until the orange juice has been purchased and stocked in her refrigerator.)

I am looking forward to visiting her, but as with any vacation, I will also be very glad to get home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bringing Home the Bacon

Am I the only woman out there that feels that the man who claims to "bring home the bacon" should actually shop for it? Or at the very least be willing to pick up a gallon of milk on his way home from work? Grocery shopping is perhaps the most menial and abhorrent task that has to be completed. Simply the thought of having to go grocery shopping makes me want to go into a deep depression.

Think about it this way: Grocery shopping is merely the beginning of a lengthy list of chores for the Mama.

But before the shopping can even begin, you have to get the kids ready for the adventure. And inevitably, there will be a dirty diaper just as you are getting into the car. And, goody, it seeped through. To your clothes, too. So you get everyone back out, change your disgusting child, and yourself, and start over. Okay. Seatbelts everybody! Then you hear, " Mommy, I have to go potty! BAAAD!" You put it in park, take the pee-pee queen to the potty, and then back in the car. Finally, you are on your way. Then you remember that you forgot your purse. turn the car around, open the garage, and go back in the house for the third time.

Once you finally arrive at the store, you are already so frustrated from the delay of game(not to mention the kids constant bickering during the ride), that you are in NO mood for there to be no carts. But you wait patiently until one is available. Immediately your kids start begging for foods that are incredibly unhealthy, or simply because they have a picture of SpongeBob on the label. I am convinced I could get my kids to eat broccoli, asparagus, brussell sprouts(insert any food here) if only there was a picture of SpongeBob on the box. You tell the kids they can only pick out one box of cereal, but they can't agree on what, so that turns into a knock down drag out in the middle of the store. I seriously, seriously cannot think of anything more embarrassing than your kids wrestling on the floor of the cereal aisle in a store. KIDDING!!! I am kidding! Ahem. My kids do NOT wrestle in the floor in the cereal aisle...(oh, wait, what do you mean? It isn't Not Me! Monday? Oh, sorry...)

Then comes the cookie isle. The baby begins screaming because she wants an animal cracker NOW! There really is no reasoning with a 1 year old. But at the same time, you can't really open the box up in the store, now can you! The old lady buying vanilla wafers says " Next time dearie, you should plan ahead and pack a snack for the baby." And you are thinking "Next time, I will not bring her! UGH!" Then you look over to see that your older children have just dumped 6 boxes of Oreos into your cart. As you scold them and put the cookies back, you look back over to see that the baby has just ripped a hole in the package of ground beef.

Now flustered beyond your breaking point, you make your way to the checkout counter, hoping against hope that you have secured enough food to make dinners for the week(Even if it is omelettes. Everyday.). You pick the shortest line, only to find that the customer in front of you is writing a check, and needs manager approval. So you wait...........and wait......and wait. Finally it is your turn. "Paper or plastic?" And you are thinking, "I don't give a rat's behind! Paper or plastic! JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE!" calmly reply. And you unload all of your selections onto the conveyor belt. You have a momentary panic attack, because your checkcard is not in your wallet. But you find it down in your purse, next to the happy meal toy and the half eaten lollypop. You pay, and the bag boy helps you out to your car. You make small talk to be polite, but you are screaming obsenities in your mind. You barely save the bread and eggs before the "helpful" bagboy puts the milk on top of them.

Then you make the trip home amongst the fighting. You tell the kids to hush and look out their own windows. Then the tattling begins. "Heeee's looking out my win-doooow." And you have to wonder how she knows that, if she were actually looking out of her window.

You get home, and unload the car. Then you take everything out of the bags, and try to find somewhere to put the food. Which means you are probably cleaning out the refrigerator. And hoping that nothing in there is moldy or rotten.

By the time you get everything situated, it is time to make dinner. So you drag it all back out. And make a mess in the kitchen that you will have to clean. So you see, what should be a very simple errand..... is really only the beginning of an elaborate cluster of chores.

You have to load the groceries into the cart, unload them onto the conveyor belt, reload them into the cart, unload them into the car, unload them out of the car, then out of the bags, and into your cabinets/fridge. If you ask me, that's way too much handling. Then, you have to take said groceries, and actually make something out of them. And, clean up the mess afterward.

If "bringing home the bacon" means that someone else goes to the grocery store, then SIGN ME UP!!! And the next time my husband says he is too tired after work to pick up one measly little item, I am going to give him the list, and have him take all the kids with him. HA!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tire Swing Kind Of Day

Lane, Eden, and Ava soaking up some sun!!(It was a sweltering 97 degrees today!!

Enjoying the tire swing that dad made.

Checking out the tadpoles.

Fun times! Fed the fish, swang in the tire swing, played in the dirt.
(Side bar: when the kids go to the edge of the pond, the fish swarm the area, and actually face the kids, waiting to be fed. All of them. Or a whole lot of them. Who knew that fish could be trained? I most certainly did not.)
I even got a little laundry done! HA!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding My Motivation

Life has a way of getting monotonous.

Rephrase: we allow our lives to become monotonous.

In the last two weeks, I am ashamed to say I let myself get to this place. I started feeling sorry for myself. I threw myself a pretty good little pity party. The reasons are quite silly. So what if my son broke his arm. I should be thankful that it wasn't worse. And that he is in good health, otherwise, and his arm will heal correctly. So what if we live in a new town and we know no one. I have many wonderful friends. Just because they don't live here doesn't mean that they aren't always just a phone call away. So what if my husband is working 75 hour weeks. I should be absolutely grateful that he has a wonderful new job that is providing financial stability for our family. This was a HUGE answer to prayer. A regular paycheck is not a luxury we have been accustomed to.

How quickly we tend to forget our blessings! Why?

In the last two weeks, I have been pretty pathetic. I have skipped the gym entirely, let the laundry pile up, and let the house go. Every night for the last two weeks, as I went to bed, totally disgusted with myself for my lack of accomplishments in my day, I promised myself that I would get up refreshed and attack my day with all the excitement, thankfulness, and fervor it deserved. I promised myself that I would give my children the attention and excitement that they deserve. Starting tomorrow morning. I have been in a rut. And a funk. (I was wondering today why my older two kids' attitudes had stunk the last few days....I guess I shouldn't point out their speck in their eyes until I remove the plank from mine!)

I came home from church tonight, renewed, refreshed, and ready. My house is clean. YAY! That fact alone makes me excited to get up tomorrow and tackle the day.

My motivation is my family. My husband and my three beautiful children. I lost sight of that these last few weeks. I have been too focused on myself and my problems. I took my focus off of God and the blessing that he has so, so graciously bestowed upon us. I lost sight of the things that really matter. Instead, I allowed myself to get sucked into things that are trivial. And most importantly, I allowed Satan to steal my joy!

I think we get sooo tied up in the day in, day out, that we lose our purpose. And our purpose is serving our families. In whatever capacity is needed. And if they need clean underwear, we are serving them through doing the laundry.

Side note: I really think I have found that GREAT church we have been looking for!!!! Really, really, really excited about that!

My hubby just got home from his ridiculously long day! Yay! He worked almost 17 hours today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We Are The Champions

Ava, ever the diva, gave the performance of her lifetime today. This song, for reasons totally unknown to me, happens to be in her top 5. It accompanies "Let's Go Fly a Kite", the theme song of Sponge Bob, "All the Single Ladies"(I tried to film this, but she was too busy dancing to really sing, and the video came out blurry), and "When We Give" by Mark Schultz. For a three year old, she has very diverse taste. She never fails to keep us laughing. As I have mentioned before, she is quite the entertainer. And she knows how to use it. And this is a very, very bad thing. For me. For her, well, she probably thinks it is working out quite nicely.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Last Monday, when Lane realized the full extent of his injury, and continually expressed the sentiment, "my summer is ruined", over and over, I did NOT silently agree, that " Yes, Your summer is ruined, MY summer is ruined, Everyone's summer is ruined!!!". I did NOT see my summer-sitting-poolside flash before my very eyes. I would never be that selfish!

I most certainly did NOT proceed to take place in a pity party, in the form of totally boycotting the laundry. And then I absolutely did NOT wash only my husband's clothes, in the hopes that maybe he wouldn't notice the mountain of laundry that had sprouted. I also did NOT have to wash the same load of clothes three times because I was either too forgetful or too lazy to put them into the dryer.

I would NEVER make my kids wait until 2:00 pm to eat lunch, so that we could go to Sonic and get half-priced drinks.

When Lane and his broken arm came tumbling down the stairs, I did NOT THINK every four letter word I have ever heard.

I did NOT eat Kit Kats and drink Diet Coke for breakfast today.

I did NOT justify staying home from the gym this morning because I really needed to stay home and do the laundry, only to spend the majority of the morning on the computer.

When Ava was misbehaving in public, I did NOT whisper in her ear that I was going to spank her butt, to which she did NOT reply (in a volume designated for movie theater sound commercials) "Don't spank my butt! Kiss My face!!(pause) IIIIIIII HAAAAAAPPPPPPPPYYYY!!!". I did NOT start laughing uncontrollably. I do NOT consistently have problems disciplining this child because she does NOT always know how to make me laugh.

This has been Not Me! Monday, courtesy of MckMama.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Horror!!

Last night, while tucking my girls into bed, we made quite a grim discovery. We pulled back the sheets of Eden's bed, and there were 2 ants. As you can imagine, she immediately went into hysterics, which immediately sent Ava into hysterics. Two little girls-totally FREAKING OUT!

I noticed that there were a few more ants around the edge of the mattress....Soooooooooooooooo I lifted it up. And right there on the boxspring were hundreds of ANTS!!!!!!!!!!

And, of course, I was then in hysterics! Three girls, totally FREAKING OUT!! I mean, seriously....wouldn't you be more than a little freaked out that there seems to be a colony of ants that has moved into your child's bed?

Have I mentioned that these were FIREANTS????

I went a little over the top with the ant spray. Because while I was in hysterics, BJ told me to. And even after the fact, how else do you get rid of hundreds of ants? They were all dead this morning. (The girls slept in the full size bed in the guest room. Which is across the hall from my bedroom. And when I say "slept", what I really mean, is "giggled uncontrollably for hours while mom and dad kept yelling at them to hush up and go to sleep."

And now I am afraid to put her back in her bed. Even though I only sprayed the boxspring. And the package says that the ant spray is perfectly safe for pets and humans after it is dry. Sooo...I don't know. What do you think?

FYI: I am definitely, without a doubt, calling a pest control expert tomorrow!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Perfect Church....

...will only become reality when Jesus comes to call us home.

But, while I am here on this earth, I am in need of a GREAT church to call home. We have just moved to a new area, and I am finding this task to be daunting. We are anxious to get involved in a church, but none that we have visited have been a good fit.

I wish there was a way to take bits and pieces of each and mesh them into one. Ha!

But, why is it SOOOO difficult to find a friendly church, with fabulous music, sound Biblical preaching, and dynamic kid's programs?!

The first we visited had GREAT MUSIC( a famous Christian recording artist is the worship leader). The preaching was Biblical. They had a lot going on for the kids. But the people were cold and unfriendly. My 7 year old daughter tried to sit by a few girls, and they moved away from her. And something else was missing. It was just stark.

The next church was friendly and outgoing. I don't think they had seen a visitor in awhile! They were very excited to see us. But the music was AWFUL. I don't really even know if you could call it a joyful noise, as no one was singing audibly. And the preaching was more of a psychology lesson. And it just didn't "feel right" either.

I know we have only visited two churches. And I have no idea why I find this to be so intimidating. I guess we spent so much time in a church that we knew was dying, that I am just so, so ready to be in a GREAT church.

So, our quest continues tomorrow. I am trying not to get discouraged.

Oh, and I just found out my husband got called in to work tomorrow. Sooooooooooo...I guess the kids and I will brave it alone.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Shoe in the Road

I am positively baffled by the single shoe in the road phenomenom that seems to be plagueing our streets!! Where do they come from? How does this happen? Why is it always the singular shoe? At what point does someone realize that one of their shoes are missing? At that point, do they hold search parties in the street? How do you lose a single shoe while traveling down the road??

Is it thrown in anger? If so, why your shoe?!!

Is it dropped accidentally? If so, why was your shoe off your foot, and hanging out the window?

I really can’t come up with another scenario for this. Maybe it blew out of the back of a truck. But really, I don’t think there are enough people transporting shoe collections in the back of pickups to account for the volume of singular shoes found out on the roadways.

Possibly, I can see that a child could throw a shoe out the window, unbeknownst to the parents. Possibly. My kid will be very, very sorry if that day were to come to pass. They would forever forward be know as "one shoe". That remaining shoe would be their last. (j/k all you do good liberals that take everything literally!)

Besides, the majority of these sightings are shoes that belong to adults. Or the children of the jolly green giant.

I do not typically see many things in the middle of the road. Yes, okay, there is the occasional escaped plastic bag, but I can justify this in my mind. They are disposable items, that catch wind easily. Other than these two items, I can’t think of another item that is sighted so frequently littering the highways and biways!

But shoes??? Come on. There is an abundance of shoes. I believe that in any driving experience, I spot at least one shoe in the street. Just today, I traveled about 1 mile, and I saw a shoe in an intersection. Surely, I am not the only one perplexed by this mystery. I would love to hear other people’s opinions as to where so many of these come from.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Boy is Getting a Little Ripe...

..........soooooooooooo it is time for the much dreaded bath. Which is no easy job, since his arm is cast up to his armpit. And have I mentioned that this boy is painfully modest. Public nakedness(meaning with an audience of ANY kind) could be considered to be the most severe form of torture that Lane could endure. But, it MUST BE DONE.

So, I broached the topic carefully. I said, "Lane, I have some bad news. We have to get a bath today. Do you know what that means?"

He said(in a VERY PAINED voice), " You have to take a bath with me?"

I replied(as I stifled a million giggles), "No, but I do have to give you a bath so we make sure to keep your arm dry."

His reply? "That's JUST as BAD!"

Oh, contrere, buddy. Oh, contrere!

Poor guy! He is having a rough week. But I sincerely believe that a bath with his mother would be much, MUCH worse.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Do You Help Someone Who Won't Help Themselves?

I believe that there is a fine line between the "tough love" and the "tough luck" sentiments. Tonight, I am truly struggling with where that line should be drawn. I feel that there comes a time where a person, either mentally, or physically, or financially, has found themselves in such a deep, dark pit, that no matter how hard they try, it has become impossible for them to right themselves. Am I supposed to offer help? Insist they get help? Make sure that they get help? Or simply stand back and watch them struggle?

Is it really for me to judge whether or not they are, indeed, "helping themselves"? I can never really know their intentions, anyway. Any estimations on my part could only be considered judgement. The only actions, or intentions, that I have ANY CONTROL over, are my own.

Which brings me back to this question? What am I supposed to do? Everyone else has written this person off.

I think my answer is here:

Matthew 25:35-40

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Jesus didn't say to help someone, but only after you have questioned their motivation and their ambitions for helping themselves.

So, if indeed, I were to help this people who repeatedly choose not to help themselves, is that then considered enabling?

What if this person is incapable of handling their own problems? What kind of a person does this make me, that I would stand by and watch this person spiral deeper and deeper into their own deep, dark pit of despair? I am, after all, only accountable for my actions.

So, what would Jesus do?(I know, terribly cliche. But applicable, nonetheless.)

Boy Meets Board

Once upon a time, in a land known as the deep south, a boy named Lane was born. As Lane grew into a toddler, it became clear that he was, in fact, a wanderer. (This is a character trait that I would not wish upon the child of ANYONE, as this has been known to cause SEVERE PANIC ATTACKS in young mothers.) His wandering ways caused his mother to become extremely cautious(or overprotective, according to some). She even resorted to "leashing" her child in crowded places; this was a practice she always swore she would never use on a child. It took many years for this young mother to loosen up.

And then Boy Met Board. Skateboard, that is. And the board met a hill. Lane was perfectly content to ride his board down the hill on his behind. But Lane's father insisted that he try it standing up. Dad{who learned to skateboard at the age of 26 (another hilarious tale for another time) with some kids from the youth group at church} performed a demonstration, and then Lane proceeded down the hill. And Lane's arm met the ground.

(And now for the FUNNY PART!!) The overprotective mother was cool, calm and collected. The you-should-really-loosen-up-and-let-the-boy-be-a-boy father was in hysterics. Dad ran into the house screaming. "MEGHAN!! MEGHAN!! LANE BROKE HIS ARM!! WE GOTTA GO!! NOW!" ( It really loses some of its effect in writing.)

Mom calmly got some ice. We loaded into the car. Dad floors it out of the driveway. Mom had to tell Dad to slow down. His panic wasn't helping. Lane's sisters were so entranced by their father's demeanor that neither of them spoke for the entire drive.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Mom held poor Lane's mangled arm as they made their way inside, while Dad parked the car. As soon as the triage nurse saw Lane's arm, he was taken back to a trauma room ( despite a waiting room FULL of people). Dad and the girls waited in the waiting room, while Mom and Lane met with the doctors. After Lane was prepped for "surgery"( the hospital referred to his closed procedure as surgery), a nurse escorted Mom to update Dad of the situation. The look on Dad's face when he heard the words "put to sleep under general anesthesia" and "taking him back to surgery now" was PRICELESS!! (Well....maybe not quite priceless. After all, Lane did suffer a broken arm, and I am sure the hospital bill is going to be outrageous.)

A Blog is Born

Since I don't spend enough time on the internet, I have decided to start a blog.(This blog is a safe haven for sarcasm. You have been warned!) We have just moved to a new area, and haven't met many people yet. The kids and I planned to spend the summer at the community pool; but, we had a HUGE WRENCH thrown into our plans this weekend when our son, Lane, fell off of his skateboard and broke his arm. So, no more pool for us (*sigh*). Thus, out of a tremendous amount of time spent sitting around reading other people's blogs, I have decided to start my own. And any suggestions for fun summer activities that don't require the use of two hands or that do not include masses(or even droplets) of water would be greatly appreciated!!